Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
Imagine a much revered 11th century Gompa (monastery).
The drive to Lamayuru takes us through unusual & complex Himalayan landscapes.
We arrive tired and saturated with all the beautiful views. We have just begun our journey to the Dard Aryan village and we are a group of 4 – the driver, the wonderful husband and wife who will host me in their home and myself.
The Dard Aryans embraced Buddhism sometime in their past and today they follow no other religion. So for them the stop at the Lamayuru Gompa is a religious one. But I am here to look at the buildings and the art and to experience the atmosphere of worship.
It is hard walking up and down the stairs as I am always out of breath on staircases in Ladakh. So I go around slowly. My hosts finish their worship and as they walk down they strike up a conversation with a Lamaji. He invites them to sit down and chat in the sunny open compound. In the meanwhile I go around and try to capture the beauty of the 11th century creation in my memory of neuron pathways and gigabytes.
When I find them again, they have already bonded and the Lamaji invites all of us to his room for a cup of tea. Gratefully we walk to his home – up a narrow flight of stairs and take our places around the room on the mattresses and carpets laid out on them.
The Lamaji takes out his stove and makes us a wonderful cup of tea with milk and sugar. He also makes additional cups of slated butter tea for them. They enjoy both while I a happy with my sweet tea and biscuits.
In what life did I earn the good Karma of receiving the service of a Lamaji? In what life did he owe me this debt that he is repaying today? Or is this an act of merit that he is earning? Is this the beginning of a new cycle or is it the settlement of an older one?
We will never know.
But I am grateful for his act of unreserved hospitality. And hope for the opportunity to pay it forward someday to another.